Charges Against Adnan Syed Dropped by Baltimore Prosecutors
Following the decision to vacate Adnan Syed’s murder conviction last month, Baltimore prosecutors have followed up by formally dropping charges against Syed. He is a free man and the murder of Hae Min Lee is now officially unsolved.
The Baltimore Sun writes that the prosecutors have said that they’ve discovered two alternative suspects in the murder of Hae Min Lee, one of whom was not disclosed to the defense of Syed at the time. Due to those issues and others, prosecutors said they have lost faith in the guilty verdict. When Syed was released, it was announced that the State had 30 days to file new charges. Their failure to do so has now removed a hammer from above Syed’s head. While he will likely never escape the infamy of the previous conviction, which was brought to national attention via the first season of the Serial podcast, he can at least start to fully enjoy life as a free man without worrying about going back to jail.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has said previously that ”she would be prepared to certify Syed’s innocence, making him eligible to apply for wrongful conviction compensation from the state, if the DNA testing came back inconclusive or pointed to another suspect.” The article from the Baltimore Sun is breaking news, so we don’t have formal statements from everyone, but considering Mosby’s statements before, this implies a DNA exoneration. We can’t be sure until that is confirmed.
Lee’s family has been deeply traumatized by the speed of this process and what they see as a lack of communication between the state and the family. For them, they long thought this case was over, but due to the work of many, including the Serial podcast, something they thought was settled isn’t. When the conviction was overturned, Lee’s family appealed and argued that the state did not give them sufficient notice. They wanted to have the proceedings paused so that they could be able to properly go through everything and give testimony.
There are many victims in this situation and it is cruel the way some online want to blame the Lee family when the reality is that these kinds of tunnel vision situations happen all the time. The entire reason we have the Innocence Project is because the state messes up. It is a flawed system because it is made up of flawed people who have motivations beyond simply justice to get convictions. When it was time to put Syed away for life they had no problem weaponizing the Lee family’s trauma, loss, and the image of Hae to do so. Now that it comes time for the system to admit they made mistakes, the Lee family has to hear from it on what must seem like swift notice.
While Syed may file for compensation, there is no amount of money that will make up for the decades he lost. And there will be no justice for anyone, but the state will continue to harm.
(Via Baltimore Sun, image: Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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